1,000 signatures reached
To: Herefordshire Council
Stop the privatisation of Herefordshire's Libraries, Museums and Archives
We call on Herefordshire Council not to go ahead with the tendering process to outsource the county’s Museums, Libraries and Archives service to a private company.
Why is this important?
On Thursday 28th June 2018, Herefordshire Council’s Cabinet will meet to discuss the possibility of starting a tendering process to privatise these vital services, based on the “Soft Market Test” report, published in January 2018 and the recommendations of the Scrutiny Committee, which met on 9th April.
At a time when there is much evidence to suggest that other local authorities are having to take these services back in-house due to the failure of private companies to run them effectively, we need to control and safeguard the future cultural service provision for our community, particularly for our children, young people, and isolated, vulnerable groups, such as elderly and disabled people. UNISON believes that the public deserve the best possible service when it comes to Museums, Libraries and Archives and our policy is always to keep services in-house. The Council say they need to do this to save money. However, the total budget spend for all 3 services last year represents a spend of less than £8 per head of population. Official figures for the library service already show a below average spend in comparison to similar authorities so it’s difficult to see a reason for taking these services out of local council ownership, when the figures show that it is already a very cost-effective service.
UNISON is committed to working with Herefordshire Council to find a solution to its budgetary pressures without undermining our loved arts and library provision.
Ealing, along with Croydon, Harrow and Hounslow recently had to take back their library services due to the collapse of Carillion. Staff at privatised library services in Bromley, run by Greenwich Leisure Ltd, have been on strike. UNISON believes Museum, Library and Archives staff deserve to be recognised for the trained, professional job they do, and the threat of future closures, reductions in hours and the loss of friendly, knowledgeable staff is unacceptable, These things are at risk if they are transferred over to a private company or charitable trust.
Finally, UNISON has part funded work with We Own It. They are running a pledge for councillors and council candidates in elections to commit to ending all privatisation in local council services. The detail can be found here: https://weownit.org.uk/local-pledge
Herefordshire Local Government UNISON